Ministry of Women and Child Development (hereinafter referred to as the “WCD Ministry”) on November 6, 2017, launched an online complaint management system for women working in both public as well as private sector organizations to lodge complaints of Sexual Harassment at workplace.
The online complaint management system known as “She-Box” was launched by Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Women and Child Development Minister and was launched to ensure the effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the “SH Act”).
Sexual Harassment at Workplace
A sexual behavior only becomes sexual harassment at workplace only if it is unwelcome to the woman who is in receipt of such behavior. Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome act or behavior (whether express or implied), such as:-
- Physical contact or advance
- A demand or request for sexual favors
- Making sexually colored remarks
- Showing pornography
- Any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment at workplace can take various forms. It can involve conduct such as:-
- Unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing
- Staring or leering
- Suggestive comments or jokes
- Unwanted or persistent requests to go out
- Intrusive questions about another person’s private life or body
- Deliberately brushing up against someone
- Insults or taunts of a sexual nature
- Sexually explicit pictures, posters, screen savers, emails, twitters, SMS or instant messages
- Accessing sexually explicit internet sites
- Inappropriate advances on social networking sites
- Behavior which would also be an offence under the criminal law, such as physical assault indecent exposure sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications
It is the first time ever that the Government of any country has launched an online portal to receive complaints of Sexual Harassment at Workplace. WCD Ministry has made it mandatory for all organizations to set up an Internal Complaint Committee (hereinafter referred to as “ICC”) to ensure a safe environment for all working women. All the complaints lodged by women will be monitored by the WCD Ministry to ensure that necessary action is taken by the ICC of an organization.
Working of SHe-Box
A compliant can be registered by any women by accessing the online portal. Once a complaint is submitted to the portal, it will be directly sent to the ICC of the concerned organization/ employer. Through this portal, WCD Ministry as well as the complainant can monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICC.
Internal Complaint Committee
Every organization has to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) having following members:-
- Chairperson – A Women working at senior level in the organization
- 2 Members (at least) – Amongst employees committed to women issues, have legal knowledge or experience in social work
- 1 Member – from NGO
If the organization has workplaces located at different places or division or sub-division level, then ICC will be constituted at every workplace.
Highlights/ Features of SHe-Box
- Speedier response to complaints
- Women working in Government as well as private organization can lodge a complaint
- Those who have already filed a written complaint with the concerned ICC constituted under the SH Act are also eligible to file their complaint through this portal.
- Option of interaction with the WCD Ministry, with an assured time bound response.
- Ensuring the dignity and safety of women